What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Chaos is a well-written and imaginative fantasy novel that mixes surrealistic situations with characters and themes from world folklore. Its protagonist, Scotch, is forthright in her attitude toward sex (and was bullied because of it at her previous school), but she does little more than flirt during the course of the novel. There's lots of profanity (especially "s--t" and "f--k"), and many minor characters are injured during the mayhem that ensues. Characters are attacked by formerly inanimate objects, pedestrians are wounded in the wake of battling prehistoric beasts, and Scotch is pursued and attacked by an imaginary pet come to life. Although Scotch is threatened by a cannibalistic witch, there's little person-on-person violence.
What's the story?
Having been bullied at her previous school, Sojourner \"Scotch\" Smith dreams of winning a dance competition and earning enough money to move out of her parents' house. But when she accompanies her older brother to an open mic night, she's caught up in the mayhem that ensues when a volcano erupts in Lake Ontario and the rules of physics seem to be upended across Toronto. With her brother missing in a hole in the floor and mysterious patches of tar-like secretions spreading across her own body, Scotch must make her way to safety across a city in which Sasquatches now walk the streets, mythical creatures fight to the death, and everyday objects can suddenly turn deadly.
Is it any good?
THE CHAOS is far from a run-of-the-mill "plucky teen faces the apocalypse" novel. Author Nalo Hopkinson spends a lot of pages building an intriguing and emotionally complex backstory for her protagonist, and when the surrealistic disaster occurs, Scotch is the anchor that holds the freewheeling narrative together. Some readers may find the plot a little too random, but those who can go with the flow of non-sequiturs mixed with folkloric archetypes will find The Chaos rewarding and unforgettable.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what it's like to be of a mixed racial heritage and to follow more than one set of cultural traditions. How do Caribbean and Slavic traditions affect the plot of The Chaos?
How does the apocalyptic vision described in The Chaos compare with that of other books you've read or movies you've seen? What elements are different or the same?
Why do girls in middle school and high school often ostracize and bully those they consider "skanks" or "sluts"? What can be done to stop this kind of behavior?
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy, Arts and dance, Brothers and sisters, Fairy tales, Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires|
|Publication date:||April 17, 2012|
|Number of pages:||256|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||14 - 17|
|Available on:||Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle|